Celebrities | Anorak - Part 419

Celebrities Category

Celebrity news & gossip from the world’s showbiz and glamour magazines (OK!, Hello, National Enquirer and more). We read them so you don’t have to, picking the best bits from the showbiz world’s maw and spitting it back at them. Expect lots of sarcasm.

Cat’s Flap

‘AT the start of Thursday night’s I’m A Celebrity, only seven shlebs remained in the Australian wilderness – which could be a wildlife park in Sydney or Whipsnade Zoo.

A pouting trout

Fash was there to tell us at home that it was all a competition, and that since they were all ‘winners’ in the camp, they all wanted to win. Apart from Wozza.

‘I thought it would be tough, but I didn’t think it would be this tough,’ said Robin Cook’s fatter brother. He then said he was happy to go, although he thought Toyah would be the next to leave.

First, though, Linda had to face Terror In The Trees. Oh, and shave her legs, a move that showed that she and she alone knows how to really survive in the wilds.

‘I think I’m really tough,’ said Linda. ‘I think I’m really strong,’ said Linda’. ‘I’m really good,’ said Linda. ‘I’m really psyched up,’ said Linda. And, accordingly, she scored all seven stars.

If only Fash and the others had shaved their legs. But we moved on, and it was time to see who was getting the boot from camp.

And it was Catalina. The trout pout is no more.

Posted: 9th, May 2003 | In: Celebrities | Comment

Pitter-Potter, Pitter-Potter

‘BEST-SELLING children’s author JK Rowling is expecting the POTTER of tiny feet, and was last night said to be ”delighted”.

JK Rowling – ”delighted”

The deepest lake in the British Isles is Loch Morr. Best-selling children’s author JK Rowling is expecting the POTTER of tiny feet, and was last night said to be ”delighted”.

The lethal dose of chlostridium botulinum type D is 0.00006 milligrams for an adult male by peritorial injection. Best-selling children’s author JK Rowling is expecting the POTTER of tiny feet, and was last night said to be ”delighted”.

Peterborough is a former Roman settlement. Best-selling children’s author JK Rowling is expecting the POTTER of tiny feet, and was last night said to be ”delighted”.

Cornwall has its own currency. Best-selling children’s author JK Rowling is expecting the POTTER of tiny feet, and was last night said to be ”delighted”.

The distance by road from Leeds to Gloucester is approximately 160 miles. Best-selling children’s author JK Rowling is expecting the POTTER of tiny feet, and was last night said to be ”delighted”.

Melbourne time is 10 hours later than Greenwich Mean Time. Best-selling children’s author JK Rowling is expecting the POTTER of tiny feet, and was last night said to be ”delighted”.

Justice is blind. Best-selling children’s author JK Rowling is expecting the POTTER of tiny feet, and was last night said to be ”delighted”.

Nystagmus is an eye disease common among miners, of which the chief symptom is the continual oscillation of the eyeballs. Best-selling children’s author JK Rowling is expecting the POTTER of tiny feet, and was last night said to be ”delighted”.

Oxygen constitutes half the total material of the Earth’s surface. Best-selling children’s author JK Rowling is expecting the POTTER of tiny feet, and was last night said to be ”delighted”.

The lotus is a traditional motif in Egyptian architecture. Best-selling children’s author JK Rowling is expecting the POTTER of tiny feet, and was last night said to be ”delighted”.

The coelacanth is the nearest living fish relative of the amphibians. Best-selling children’s author JK Rowling is expecting the POTTER of tiny feet, and was last night said to be ”delighted”.

The US Internal Revenue Service was established in 1862. Best-selling children’s author JK Rowling is expecting the POTTER of tiny feet, and was last night said to be ”delighted”.

The banana is a herb. Best-selling children’s author JK Rowling is expecting the POTTER of tiny feet, and was last night said to be ”delighted”.

With apologies to Bernard Levin.

Posted: 20th, September 2002 | In: Celebrities | Comment

Mr Spoons

‘PREVENTING Scotland scoring against England at football doesn’t rank as the greatest demonstration of supernatural powers. But it is one of many achievements that Uri Geller is happy to take the credit for.

”Bloody bender!”

Others are rather more spectacular: his time as a CIA agent, his work as a channel for extraterrestrials, choosing Michael Jackson as his best man, and of course, appearing on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

Then there’s the spoonbending, of course, and his less-than-impressive appearance on the Johnny Carson show, when he found himself up against the massed forces of the magician James Randi, whose hostility to psychics prompted him to advise Carson’s team on how to expose Geller.

Reputations (BBC2, 9pm) takes a sceptical but entertaining trip through Geller’s life in the public eye, from male model to massive celebrity to relative obscurity once more.

It’s not likely to change anybody’s opinion of Geller, but it passes the time entertainingly enough. Once upon a time, Geller’s TV appearances were preceded by a warning that clocks might stop and cutlery bend. Consider yourself forewarned and forearmed.

Posted: 19th, September 2002 | In: Celebrities | Comment

People Like Him

‘WITH the open verdict, and then the BBC’s decision to drop his biography, this has been a week for Michael Barrymore to forget.

Scene of Barrymore’s last great performance

Not that there’s much chance of that, as Channel 4 puts him in the television dock with The Real Michael Barrymore (9.00pm).

Even if the programme doesn’t actually reveal anything new, it will certainly refresh a few memories, and it is unlikely to paint a pretty picture of the nation’s former favourite’s dramatic fall from grace

Indeed, the biggest surprise is to be reminded of how popular he once was, even after his traumatic ”outing” as both being both gay and alcoholic. And how young he once looked.

Those who take delight in seeing how far the mighty can fall may also wish to tune into highlights of Manchester United’s defeat by Maccabi Haifa (ITV1, 11.00pm). Well, we can dream…

Posted: 18th, September 2002 | In: Celebrities | Comment

Drawing Teeth

‘IF it’s anything like the book, it will be badly plotted, written in the mode of a sixth form know-all and full of trite observations. And, if it is anything like the book, the reviews will tell us it’s fantastic and we will sit down to watch White Teeth in our millions.


Tonight sees the first part of the four-part drama (sic) based on Zadie Smith’s book. It comes as little surprise that the show should be broadcast on Channel 4, a channel that is producing some real terrible TV of late (Elizabeth Hurley’s Brains, for example).

And how right-on is this. A host of half-drawn characters from a mix of racial identities – and sometimes mixed within once person – occupy the screen. There’s the Afro-Caribbean Bible basher, the Bangladeshi wannabe Englishman and the liberal Jews. Anyone say Please Sir?

And before you ask where he is, up pops the radical Muslim nutcase. It’s enough to have the Chinese community up in arms. Or is it that delighted that they have not been included in this racial mess?

But apart from all its many faults, White Teeth will be widely watched because many of us have read the book.

And if you want to watch it, it’s on Channel4 tonight at 10pm. And if you don’t want to, know this: everyone else is, which means it must be good – and that makes you a loser many times over.

Posted: 17th, September 2002 | In: Celebrities | Comment

TV Crimes

‘TOP 10 lists are so popular with TV producers that it is only a matter of time before we are given a programme: ‘Top 10 Top 10 programmes’.

Ten top reasons to go out in the evening…

Like ‘I Love 1973’ and its friends, it is an easy (and cheap way) to repackage archive footage, normally interspersed with some kind of banal commentary.

In the case of the ‘I Love …’ series, this consisted of a number of ‘talking heads’, most of whom were utterly unrecognisable even with their name and claim to fame spelt out on screen. In fact, their sole qualifications for the job seems to have been being alive in the year in question and saying ‘yes’ when asked.

Anyway, back to tonight and Channel 5’s offering to the Top 10 genre is Britain’s Top 10 Heists. Expect the normal favourites to be there – the Great Train Robbery, Brinks-Matt and the foiled attempt to steal the diamond from the Millennium Dome.

Don’t expect to see the biggest robbery of all featured – how TV gets away with recycling all this old material and selling it back to us as new.

Posted: 16th, September 2002 | In: Celebrities | Comment

Still Rockin’

‘WHICH band has made most appearances on Top Of The Pops? A little trivia question for you, the answer to which is, of course, Status Quo who this evening make their 106th appearance on the show.

G, E and C minor – it’s thirsty work

They still only play three chords, but they’ll have played those three chords a hell of a lot of times and tonight they put them all together for a special rendition of their 1977 classic Rockin’ All Over The World.

The occasion? Tonight is the 2,000th edition of the BBC show, which originally aired back in 1964. Broadcast from a converted church in Manchester, it was originally commissioned for only six shows – but quickly proved a hit.

Whether the standard of the acts on TOTP is as good now as it was then or at any time in the intervening years is a matter for debate, but the show itself is a genuine institution.

Tonight features Appleton, Wyclef Jean, Tom Jones, N-Trance, White Lines and, of course, Atomic Kitten’s cover of the Blondie classic The Tide Is High. Poptastic!

Posted: 13th, September 2002 | In: Celebrities | Comment

Picking Liz Hurley’s Brains

‘WHAT is going on at Channel 4? On Tuesday night, we were treated to Seven Days That Shook The Spice Girls, which was only topped last night by an hour-long programme entitled Elizabeth Hurley’s Brains.

Liz always struggled on her seven times table

Biologically, it is certainly true that the model does possess a brain, but (as far as we are able to ascertain) it is very much in the singular. Legs, breasts and eyes she possesses in the plural – all of which we are used to seeing lovingly photographed in our newspapers and magazines.

But brain has she one. The brains in question in fact referred to Ms Hurley’s intelligence, sufficient apparently for Channel 4 to devote an hour of its prime time schedule to their examination.

Had we missed something? Had Ms Hurley, in between appearances in Austin Powers and the remake of Bedazzled, devised a new economic theorem that would henceforth be known as Hurley’s Law?

Had the model’s famous Versace ”safety-pin” dress given rise to a new Theory of Gravity, or had she taken a break from being the face of Estee Lauder to complete three across on the Times crossword?

None of the above, it seems. After one hour of television, we had learnt that La Hurley is not just a pretty face – in fact, as one contributor opined, she is very intelligent and has a fine business sense.

While BBC1 was showing a remarkable documentary about the World Trade Center bombings, this was Channel 4’s fascinating insight. We look forward to further offerings of this type – Albert Einstein’s Legs, for example. At least he had two of them…

Posted: 12th, September 2002 | In: Celebrities | Comment

Brains Before Beauty

‘WE know it will be fatuous, thin on content and full of speculation, but there is still something captivating about a show called Liz Hurley’s Brains.

”Divine Brown’s got nothing on what goes on inside my head”

Some of what little we know for sure about La Hurley is based on her career. She has been in some bad films, and some terrible films; she’s been the face of Estee Lauder; and she once wore a dress held together by safety pins.

Some other information is based on her private life. She dated Hugh Grant for too long; she got pregnant by a man called Steve Bing, who, as luck has it, is stinking rich; and she likes to go to Oscar-night parties with Pamela Anderson.

And in spite or all that, she sets herself up as the embodiment of the classy, sexy British femme fatale.

Only Liz is from Basingstoke.

And getting from Basingstoke to Hollywood must be down to something more than picking the right boyfriend, having someone pick out the right dress and picking the right father for your child.

So could it all be down to her brains. Could it?

Liz Hurley’s Brains is on Channel 4 tonight at 9:00pm.

Posted: 11th, September 2002 | In: Celebrities | Comment

The Fortune-ate Ones

‘WE asked 100 people to name the presenter of the new series of the best gameshow to ever hit the television schedules, Family Fortunes. You said Max Bygraves. Our survey said: Er-er. You said Bob Monkhouse and your aunt Joyce said Les Dennis. And uncle Ted, who replied ”dishwashers”, was also wrong.

”We asked 100 people who my wife was having an affair with…”

For those who want to steal the points, the answer is Andy Collins. He’s the first new face of the show in 15 years, having replaced Les Dennis, who thought it was time for a change.

Les is right, of course, and no one presenter should go on for too long doing the same thing. But Les, who always promised to give a contestant the money himself if the answer was there, will be missed.

And, boy, will he be missed. The new recruit has the suit, the rules off pat, but is visibly sweating. He also has the rare gift of being able to speak faster than the moving parts of his mouth allow.

It’s like watching a Kung Fu movie, only one where the translation is done by a chipper Cockney. To quote Henry Kelly of Going For Gold fame, Andy’s mouth is playing catch-up.

But the show is bigger than one man. And the show will go on to great things. And to prove it we asked 100 people to name the gameshow that still be around in ten years time. And 80 said Family Fortunes, 10 said Weakest Link and 10 more asked for us to repeat the question.


Posted: 10th, September 2002 | In: Celebrities | Comment

Man Behaving Badly

‘MARTIN Clunes is fixed in most people’s minds as the pizza-guzzling, beer-soaked loser of Men Behaving Badly fame, but tonight he has the chance to play a character that is about as different as it is possible to be.

”Fancy a bath, darlin’?”

A is for Acid (ITV, 9pm) is not, as the title suggests, set in the clubs of the late nineties. Instead, it looks back to a more gentle age, when the most outlandish pop star was Cliff Richard, and acid was used to… er… dispose of murdered corpses.

John Haigh achieved notoriety as the ”acid bath murderer”, who disposed of his victims by immersing them in baths of acid – an idea he got while a prisoner (for fraud) during the second world war, from watching a fellow prisoner dissolve a mouse.

He believed that without a corpse, there would be no proof of murder, and he set about charming his victims, then systematically bumping them off.

Glenn Chandler, of Taggart fame, adapted the story, and it fits in nicely to the great tradition of British murder stories. It’s short on explanation, but strong on atmosphere, and Clunes turns in a good performance as the smooth-talking devil with the neatly-trimmed moustache.

Posted: 9th, September 2002 | In: Celebrities | Comment

Dy By Day

‘TONY Blackburn has seen off the competition. After his three male rivals were voted off the show, lesbian comedienne Rhona Cameron got the boot last night – leaving the way open for the veteran DJ to work his magic charm on the three remaining women.

”No, Tara! Leave me ALONE!”

However, he will have to be on his best behaviour if he is to get anywhere with Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, who revealed that the reason she fell out with Darren Day was not because he rejected her advances, but because he started to get ”vulgar”.

”I took offence to it,” she explained. ”And then there was the burping and farting. Every time he did that I found it such a turn-off.” Which would explain the notes.

But Tara is not the only celebrity to take offence so easily. Darren himself has admitted that he found Tara’s notes (which she claims were just a prank) ”offensive”, particularly as his posh admirer knew he had a girlfriend.

In days gone by we used to transport our undesirables to Australia on a one-way ticket. What is really ”offensive” about I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! is these sorry bunch of pathetic no-marks get to return home at the TV company’s expense.

If TV continues to plumb such depths, they can run a show called I’m Fed-Up With Celebrities…Get Me Out Of Here – and watch as the population of the UK dwindles to about 228.

Posted: 6th, September 2002 | In: Celebrities | Comment

End Of The Day

‘TONY Blackburn must be a worried man – stuck out in the Australian jungle as the only male with the insatiable Tara Palmer-Tomkinson (as well as Nell McAndrew, Christine Hamilton, Rhona Cameron) for company.

One of those Days

Darren Day last night became the third D-lister (and third man) to be thrown off I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here, but he couldn’t leave without delivering a few bitchy remarks aimed at his former friend.

”I don’t begrudge anyone being successful, as long as they are there for a reason and as long as they actually have a talent to warrant them being there,” he told the other contestants – without a trace of irony.

What Nell McAndrew (famous for having breasts), Christine Hamilton (famous for having a husband) and Rhona Cameron (famous for not having a husband) must have made of that is anyone’s guess.

But what of Day’s own talent? Aside from serial dating soap stars, we suppose he could always be relied upon to bring a smile to the faces of all those toothless crones who like their Cliff Richards with a touch of stubble.

Unfortunately, as Darren is just finding out, they make up only a fraction of the British population. A welcome return to obscurity beckons…

Posted: 5th, September 2002 | In: Celebrities | Comment

It’s A Knock Out

‘THERE was a moment in I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here which saw the script thrown out the window, burnt, and then defecated on by the local jungle wildlife. And it came when Nigel Benn offered comfort to a woman on the verge, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson.

Police release pictures of what Tony Blackburn is believed to have been wearing when TP-T took him on her treasure hunt

The thing is that no-one could understand what either of them were saying. TP-T was crying for attention and the boxer was showing his tender side by mumbling something in her ear.

Something like ”If you don’t put a sock in it, I will” was not it, although had it been Christine Hamilton and not Nigel Benn with Tara it might have been.

Because Tara had been rude to Christine. She had sworn at her. She had also sworn at Darren Day. But aside from those rare moments of rationality, Tara’s behaviour was becoming more and more desperate.

Everyone was supposed to be looking at her. And everyone did. And Tara, as miracles would have it, became better, the clouds of gloom lifted, the sun began to shine and all was well.

And then Ant and Dec rocked up and told Nigel he was going home. Nigel said something, but once again we didn’t really understand.

But at least his lisp managed to put the fire out. Which after the rule that says how TP-T must be ignored is the most important thing for campers to remember.

Posted: 4th, September 2002 | In: Celebrities | Comment

Uri Gets Knifed

”’WHO goes? You decide?” Only we didn’t, because we the public had to vote for who we wanted to stay. And who we didn’t want to stay in the Australian rainforest in I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! was Uri Geller.

”Oooh, Darren!”

And so it was that the friend of Michael Jackson and Bubbles was dismissed from Camp C-List. ”See you back at the hotel,” said Uri, his fingers itching to get at all those spoons in the hotel kitchens.

Tara Palmer-Tomkinson’s fingers were also itching – to get at Darren Day, and not just at his throat. It seems that Tara wants Darren in the biblical sense, and has been telling him so via love letters.

Darren told Nigel Benn that he was having none of the It Girl’s it. And in his odd Cliff Richard meets Arthur Mallard way staring talking about ”moi gewl” back home. But in a trice, Nigel was gone, off for a night of solitary in the woods.

Darren was so upset at Nigel’s absence that he couldn’t go to the toilet. He told everyone just that. And we knew he knew that he must be really upset.

But not as upset as the viewers who had been promised the chance to send one of the unlovely ones to the woods for the entire night only to see Nigel back in the bosom of his mates after 60 minutes.

”How was it Nige?” they asked. And Nigel turned towards the shapeless jungle behind him. And his eyes said it all. ”Have I been away long? What year is this? Who am I? Who are you?” And for a wonderful second, no-one at home could remember.

Posted: 3rd, September 2002 | In: Celebrities | Comment

Judgement Days

‘BORED with Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Fed up to the back teeth with Ann Robinson telling people ”Goodbye” with marginally less charm than Violet Elizabeth Bott used to tell us that she would scream and scream until she was sick? Then, dear reader, you need daytime TV, and the daytime quiz show.

Chris waits for yet another final answer

The chief difference between the evening variant of the win big programme and its afternoon sibling is that in the afternoon the stakes are lower and the hype is less.

And so it is with Judgemental, the new BBC quiz show in which the immensely likeable Sophie Raworth asks three players whether they think four people will be able to answer general knowledge questions.

The Judgemental ones are faced with little knowledge about the people they have to back to answer rightly or wrongly, only able to ascertain their gender and age.

So that’s old people being asked questions about the likes of Big Brother and Will Young and young students being quizzed on what Hitler did in the war and how many ounces make up a pound.

The show is on at 12:30, and while the employed should not necessarily set their videos less they miss it, they should know that there is life beyond Chris Tarrant and his wattle.

Posted: 2nd, September 2002 | In: Celebrities | Comment

It’s The Pitts

‘THE celebrity guests just keep on coming in this series of Friends. In tonight’s episode, the cosy gang is celebrating that all-American holiday, Thanksgiving, and Monica has invited one of her old high-school chums along for some turkey.

His name is Will Colvert and, back when Monica was roughly around the same size as Vanessa Feltz was before she got intimate with her personal trainer, he was the only one at school who was even fatter than she was.

But, in an ugly duckling scenario that ought to be a lesson to all of us, Will Colvert has really blossomed. In fact, he looks like Brad Pitt. Because he is Brad Pitt. Yes, Mr Jennifer Aniston is finally working with his wife.

Thankfully, this episode was filmed before Brad started growing the unkempt beard that could manage to make a yeti look nude, so we’re still able to appreciate the extent of his transformation from overweight loser to international sex god.

The twist is that, at school, Will was the founder of the I Hate Rachel Greene Club, whose other member was Ross. The humour is supposed to come from the fact that Will hates Rachel, even though he’s married to her in real life. Isn’t it, like, so ironic?

The lovebirds pull it off quite successfully, which is why they call them actors, we guess.

Friends is on Channel 4 at 9pm.’

Posted: 30th, August 2002 | In: Celebrities | Comment

Catching The Celebrity Bug

‘IF you were also struggling to recognise some of the faces on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here, then spare a thought for the nose-diving career of Anna Walker.

”If I’m a celebrity, what am I doing here?”

The former golden girl of Sky is so hard up for a gig these days that she is actually a reserve for the programme, ready along with Keith Chegwin to drop everything and fly out to Australia if one of the contestants gets a call from their agent and an offer of proper work.

Meanwhile, it’s not just the viewers who are becoming ill watching this bunch of nobodies flounce around Down Under – the crew have also been hit by a mystery bug, thought to be caused by prolonged periods in a talent vacuum.

Apparently, cameramen have been rushing off to the loo right, left and centre – although the sight of Rhona Cameron in a bathing suit or Uri Gellar topless is having the same effect in houses up and down Britain every night.

Just when you thought TV producers had hit rock bottom with Celebrity Sleepover, they start drilling…

Posted: 29th, August 2002 | In: Celebrities | Comment

Another Royal Family

‘ONE of the biggest hit movies of the year did not come from a big-name director like Spielberg or Cameron or Scott, but from a little-known geek called Wes Anderson.

At a video shop near you

His last film, Rushmore, about an overachieving high-school nerd with an obsessive crush on his teacher was something of a cult hit and single-handedly resurrected Bill Murray’s career.

Murray is just one of the big names in The Royal Tenenbaums, Anderson’s brilliant take on dysfunctional families, new out on video. Gene Hackman plays Royal Tenenbaum, family patriarch and pariah.

Having abandoned his wife (Angelica Huston) and three precocious children years ago, he’s now trying to worm his way back into their affections by pretending he’s dying of cancer. Unsurprisingly, when his ruse is rumbled, his family is not best pleased.

The film may be a comedy, but it’s not the kind filled with punchlines (although there are plenty of droll one-liners) – the humour is all in the characterisation.

The Tenenbaums are a family of eccentrics, especially in adulthood: Ben Stiller’s safety obsessive, Gwyneth Paltrow’s depressed playwright and Luke Wilson’s failed tennis pro, still sporting his Bjorn Borg hair and sweatbands.

It’s a great antidote to your standard Hollywood blockbuster, and far funnier than anything new on Blockbuster’s shelves right now.

Posted: 28th, August 2002 | In: Celebrities | Comment

Get Them Out Of Here

‘YOU might think that a three-day adventure in the Australian outback would be an ideal holiday. But then, you’re not a celebrity.

Could there be anything worse for someone who thrives on exposure and publicity than to be yanked out of the spotlight, dragged away from a cushy existence back home, and abandoned in the middle of nowhere with no access to make-up?

It’s not all obscurity for our poor exiled celebs, though. After all, they are being filmed 24 hours a day. And the results are screening on ITV’s new show, I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!.

Eight people of dubious celebrity status – Christine Hamilton, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, Nell McAndrew, Nigel Benn, Darren Day, Uri Geller, Rhona Cameron and Tony Blackburn – have been left to their own devices, and the mercy of various Australian creepy-crawlies, in this star version of Survivor.

Christine Hamilton, wife of the disgraced MP Neil, has been given the job of leader. Under her shining guidance, the hapless eight consumed all their food rations, meant to last for days, in just two hours.

Will they survive this terrible ordeal? Or will they be lost forever in the stark Australian wilderness? We can only hope. In the meantime, keep an eye on proceedings on ITV at 9pm.

Posted: 27th, August 2002 | In: Celebrities | Comment

Just Good Friends

‘AFTER so many years of watching the same characters pulling the same facial expressions and demonstrating the same annoying idiosyncrasies, you’d think that the appeal of Friends would have worn off by now. The love affair might have cooled, but it hasn’t died yet. And if you’ve been tempted to stray, tonight’s episode (Channel 4, 9pm) will remind you what you liked about this show in the first place.

Rachel finally tells her dad who the father of her child is and, predictably, he’s not impressed. Deciding to confront Ross about how irresponsible he’s been with his genes, he turns up at his apartment just as Ross is getting up close and personal with his new date, Mona.

Ross’s patented looks – confused, panicky, concerned, earnest – all get a workout as he tries to placate both the grandfather of his unborn child and his rather desirable date.

Meanwhile, Monica is being racked with guilt about not letting Chandler have a stripper at his bachelor’s party. Being Monica, she’s not able to just put it behind her and get on with things, so she hires what she thinks is a stripper for Chandler’s gratification. But, typically, things don’t quite go according to plan.

Posted: 23rd, August 2002 | In: Celebrities | Comment

Nights To Remember

‘IF YOUR only experience of Peter Kay is his monosyllabic contributions as a talking (or rather, grunting) head on I Love Whichever Decade I’m Being Paid To Reminisce About This Week, then the chances are you won’t have bothered watching his comedy drama Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights.

Peter Kay

If this is the case, then you should rectify the situation tonight by tuning in to Channel 4 at 10pm. You will be pleasantly surprised to find the funniest and most observant programme currently on our screens.

Kay plays the wheelchair-bound manager of a cheap and tacky social club in Bolton. His meanness and consequent corner-cutting meant that he failed to replace the battery in a smoke alarm in the gents’ toilet, and the club burnt down at the end of the last series.

His license was taken away, and his life was in ruins until a fellow club-owner suggested going back into business using another person to front the operation. The Phoenix duly rose from the flames, and was re-launched last week with a disastrous family fun day.

The joy of Phoenix nights comes from the sharpness of the observation, but also the basic sympathy for the characters. It doesn’t sneer, but it never slips into sentimentality either. It’s a gem, and deserves a prime-time spot and a huge audience. Given the chance, it could follow the Royle Family’s example and achieve mainstream success.

Posted: 22nd, August 2002 | In: Celebrities | Comment

Sister Act

‘IT’S grim oop north but luckily, as a new drama from the BBC proves, the television isn’t.

Tonight, BBC1 screens the two-part black comedy The Stretford Wives, in which Fay ”Cold Feet” Ripley, Claire Rushbrook and Lindsey ”Eastenders” Coulson star as sisters trying to deal with the realities of life in a tough, working-class part of Manchester.

Ripley is the most dominant of the sisters, Donna, a light-fingered mum of two having an affair with a policeman while waiting for her abusive psycho of a husband to get out of prison. Moving in with her is Rushbrook’s Elaine, who has just dumped her junkie husband in favour of her boss. Unfortunately, he also happens to be married.

And looking down on her siblings, with the possibly justified belief that they’ve made a complete hash of their lives, is Coulson’s hypochondriac Lynda. Jealous of her sisters’ closeness, she’s just itching to find an opportunity to prove herself superior and to interfere in their messy domestics.

The fine cast is completed by Sixties icon Rita Tushingham as the mother of this dysfunctional trio, and the original script is by Clocking Off writer Daniel Brocklehurst.

The Stretford Wives screens at 9pm, with the second episode showing at 10.35pm.

Posted: 21st, August 2002 | In: Celebrities | Comment

From Hell

‘YOU would think that a show called Tourists From Hell would have so much scope.

The producers could put together a programme each week from a different continent – loud Americans in checked shirts mispronouncing London locations one week, Australians knocking out passers by with their oversized backpacks the next, and Japanese creating a bottleneck on the tube by taking pictures of the scruffy busker at the bottom of the escalator after that.

But tonight’s Tourists From Hell (ITV at 9pm) is all about our fellow Brits.

Not the doddery kind who wear matching anoraks and tote around spare supplies of Marmite and baked beans while moaning about the sun in whichever country they happen to be visiting, however.

These tourists from hell have been transported to such exotic locations as San Antonio, Greece and Blackpool, dosed up with alcoholic beverages and various other substances, and then captured them on film for the benefit of the viewing public.

As you can guess, it’s not all sunshine and donkey rides. Basically, it’s nothing that you can’t see for (or do) yourself while on holiday along any stretch of Mediterranean coastline.

Expect to see plenty of pasty bare buttocks, run-ins with the local constabulary and drunken attempts to open plane doors at 30,000 ft.

Posted: 20th, August 2002 | In: Celebrities | Comment

See You In Elvis

‘IT’S 25 years today since Elvis left the building for good. Or not, depending on whether you’re one of those people who thinks he never really died at all and you’ve spotted him anonymously packing shelves at your local Tesco.

Received wisdom has it that on August 16, 1977, Elvis died of a heart attack at the age of 42 after taking a cocktail of drugs. A post-mortem is believed to have revealed that his veins were full of pure bacon fat.

But being dead hasn’t stopped the big man raking in the dough. He’s the world’s top-earning dead celebrity, pulling in £24.1 million a year. Could that heart attack have been nothing more than a canny career move? He even spent a month at No.1 this summer – ah, the wonders of modern technology.

Having spent all week screening tributes to the man with the most provocative hips in history, the TV channels seem to have run out of documentaries and profiles to show on the actual anniversary of his death.

But that shouldn’t stop you commemorating the big man yourself. All you need is a tight white jumpsuit, a bucket of fried chicken, and the Nike ad played on continuous loop.

The King is dead. Long live the King.

Posted: 16th, August 2002 | In: Celebrities | Comment